Lex Grootelaar felt ready for a new chapter. While working as a yard supervisor and hot re-fueller (fuelling planes and helicopters that fight wild fires) for an aviation fuel supplier in southeast Edmonton, he rented a basement suite near Whyte Avenue.
He’d always viewed the area as a cultural hub and used to go out often, but, he says, “the bar scene was getting old. It can also be sketchy at night.” Seeking a new challenge and an opportunity to meet new people, he decided to go back to school. He enrolled in full-time general evening classes at MacEwan University to earn a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He also started looking for a place nearby.
The first-time buyer wanted something that would work as a rental property in about five years. He chose Oliver because it’s close to downtown without being right in the core, and he can walk to the river valley and farmers’ markets. He viewed several walkups south of 104 Ave. with realtor Alexandra Krutzfeldt until he found a renovated place for a great price.
Of his new life, Lex says, “It gives me an amazing sense of pride that I’m slowly carving out my place in the world—after too many years spinning in circles.”
THE OPTION: Espania
10335 117 ST
The top-floor suite was Lex’s largest option. Plus the building allowed residents to barbecue on the balcony. But while the spacious living room and the absence of upstairs neighbours appealed to him, and he loved the laminate wood floor, the renos didn’t look professionally finished. The original closet doors especially needed lots of work. He also worried about traffic noise because the building is next to 104 Ave. with nothing in between as a sound barrier.
LISTED PRICE: $194,900
Upsides: Spacious, New oven range, close to Oliver Square stores and Oliver Pool
Downsides: Reno quality was worrying; second bedroom too small to rent to future tenants; balcony faces parking lot, alley and dumpster
THE BUY: Inner Town Manor
10320 113 ST.
Lex wanted to do minimal renovations, so this updated suite was the most appealing—and had the lowest list price. It was hard to turn down the bright, open kitchen with plentiful cabinetry and new dishwasher, and a bathroom large enough for a modern vanity. Plus he could furnish the master bedroom with his desk, which freed up the second room for his sister to rent. Although the common areas of the building are dated, Lex says the decision to buy his new condo was relatively easy. “It just was so much nicer for the price than everything else. It really was a no-brainer.”
LISTED PRICE: $187,500
Upsides: Good lighting, balcony, double kitchen sink, walk-in master closet, laundry on each floor
Downsides: Uncovered parking, no elevator, bbq not allowed on the balcony
AVERAGE SELLING PRICE FEBRUARY – APRIL 2015:
(+$2,330 from Feb-Apr 2014)
• Difference from listing price: -$9,409
• Days on market: 48 (+1 from Feb-Apr 2014)
(+65,415 from Feb–Apr 2014)
• Difference from listing price: -$12,863
• Days on market: 45 (-20 from Feb-Apr 2014)
Provided by REALTORS® Association of Edmonton